Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Tessa Davis (South Carolina) presents Tax Narratives: A Critical Tax Perspective on the Biden Tax Plan virtually at Copenhagen today as part of its Tax Colloquium:
Tax is storytelling. And the Biden Administration is elevating different narratives as it weaves its own story of the tax changes the country needs and how those changes will strengthen the fabric of American society. As of August 2021, portions of the Administration’s proposals have become law. Others face an uncertain path to enactment. A rare bipartisan spirit emerged in the same month in the U.S. Senate’s passing of a significant infrastructure bill. But legislation to advance the Administration’s other goals—particularly tax changes and spending programs targeted toward benefiting low- and middle-income individuals and families—may be a harder lift. In “Tax Narratives: A Critical Tax Perspective on the Biden Tax Plan,” I situate the Administration’s proposals that aim to address childcare, healthcare, and education access within domestic and international contexts.
Specifically, I highlight the influence of critical tax work begun decades ago on the proposals advanced by the Administration and consider how those proposals, if passed, would position the United States alongside similarly situated nations. As it draws upon well-developed ideas from the critical tax literature, the Administration is advancing policies once considered radical in the domestic context but that have broad acceptance in other nations. But one could be forgiven for missing these connections, as such history and parallels are largely muted in the Administration’s materials and President’s speeches on the topic. “Tax Narratives” aims, then, to explore both the substance and story of the Administration’s proposals—the interplay between technocratic solutions and the narratives that shape (and sell) them.
Discussants: Sigrid Hemels (Erasmus-Rotterdam) & Karen Boll (Copenhagen)